The German government announced in 2022 that it would launch two migration packages. These are intended to simplify and expand German immigration law fundamentally. Migration Package 1 was already adopted at the end of 2022, so the innovations in asylum procedure law and the new right of opportunity to stay have been introduced. This year, Migration Package 2 is to be implemented. In particular, the German Bundestag has already adopted a new residence permit with the opportunity card.

If you have a particular issue or legal question concerning German immigration law, you can contact our law office anytime. Our German immigration lawyers can be reached by phone and email and provide video conferencing options. For more legal information, please visit our Immigration Information Germany Centre.

Accelerated Asylum and Asylum Court Procedure

As part of the Migration Package 1, the Act on the Acceleration of the Asylum Court Procedure and Asylum Procedure came into force on 01.01.2023.

In particular, the long-demanded independent asylum procedure counselling was established. Asylum seekers can now obtain information on the procedure and general support from a non-governmental agency. This counselling centre is intended to considerably relieve the Federal Office for Migration in particular, which due to staff shortages, was often unable to meet requests or could only do so inadequately or with delays. In this way, the Federal Office should be able to devote more capacity to conducting asylum procedures so that individual procedures can be completed with less waiting time.

In addition, it is now stipulated by law that the decision of the Federal Office for Migration in the asylum procedure may, in principle, not take longer than six months. This is also intended to accelerate asylum procedures. Furthermore, this regulation is designed to prevent actions for failure to act, which in turn will relieve the administrative courts.

Opportunity Right of Residence

The so-called right of residence with opportunities has already been introduced. It is regulated in Section 104c of the German Residence Act (AufenthG). The primary aim is to give tolerated foreigners the chance of legal residence and to enable them to access the labour market.

With the right of residence with opportunities, you receive an 18-month residence permit. Within this period, the requirements for a permanent residence permit are then to be fulfilled. The requirements for a residence permit are laid down in Sections 25a and 25b AufenthG. These include, for example, sufficient oral German language skills at the A2 level, independent means of subsistence, proof of identity and commitment to the free democratic basic order of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The Chance Residence Permit covers all foreigners living in Germany for at least five years on the cut-off date of 31.10.2022 and are subject to deportation for lack of a residence permit but cannot be deported and are therefore considered tolerated. Excluded from this are persons who have been convicted of criminal offences and persons who have attempted to prevent their deportation by deceiving their identity or intentionally providing false information.

The right of residence with opportunities offers a perspective to many persons. At the end of 2021, the number of tolerated persons in Germany was 242,029, of whom 136,605 had also stayed in the Federal territory for more than five years. It should be noted that the right of opportunity to stay is a one-time special regulation. If the open requirements are not fulfilled within 18 months, the persons concerned revert to tolerated persons.

The right of opportunity to stay must be distinguished from the opportunity card.

Opportunity Cad

The opportunity card, which the Bundestag passed on 23 June 2023, is also a residence permit. It is intended to allow foreigners from non-EU countries to look for employment in Germany. The procedure is based on a points system that evaluates the following criteria in particular:

  • professional qualification,
  • German language skills,
  • previous work experience and
  • age.

The opportunity card allows you to enter Germany to look for a job. During the opportunity card residence permit period, you may take up a part-time or trial job. If you have already found a permanent position, you can easily apply for a corresponding residence permit for employment purposes.

Family Reunification

In connection with the opportunity card, it was also decided to simplify family reunification. In future, it will be possible for skilled workers to bring their spouses and children, their parents and parents-in-law to Germany. For this, the livelihood of the relatives must also be considered secure.

German Citizenship Law

At the beginning of 2023, the Federal Ministry of the Interior presented a draft for a new citizenship law in Germany. Naturalisation is to be made considerably more accessible to promote integration. During this, multiple nationality is also to be generally permitted so that the connection to the respective country of origin does not have to be abandoned in favour of belonging to Germany.

To simplify the naturalisation process, the bill provides for the minimum period of residence to be reduced from 8 years to 5 years. Furthermore, the language level to be proved is limited to oral knowledge, and a naturalisation test is no longer required.

The bill is still before the Bundestag for a vote.

Contact us: German Full-Service Law Firm Schlun & Elseven

If you have any questions about the right to stay, family reunification or immigration possibilities in Germany, please do not hesitate to contact our team. Our lawyers for German immigration law will be happy to advise you individually on your situation and legal options.